[UPDATED - ASCENSION!] Blackdirge's "Metamorphosis - From Dretch to Demon Lord"

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
What's the level of crunch in this book then? I know most of the standard releases don't have much, while the deluxe editions have several articles of crunch. Will this have all of the crunch that would've been in a deluxe edition?
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Alzrius said:
What's the level of crunch in this book then? I know most of the standard releases don't have much, while the deluxe editions have several articles of crunch. Will this have all of the crunch that would've been in a deluxe edition?
Nope, sorry. It's just the novel.

We do have some stat blocks for it (but no art). Maybe we'll put together a small separate PDF or something for just the stats.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Morrus said:
We do have some stat blocks for it (but no art). Maybe we'll put together a small separate PDF or something for just the stats.
I hope so. I'm far less concerned with artwork than I am with seeing the stats for some of the characters in this last book.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Alzrius said:
I hope so. I'm far less concerned with artwork than I am with seeing the stats for some of the characters in this last book.
Very worst case, if we don't use them directly, Blackdirge can post 'em here.
 

wykthor

Visitor
I just finished Book III. A very nice, 4 stars out of 5 novel. I'd like to comment about some facts in Ascension, though:



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First, as a player of the Curse of Cthulhu campaign, I was amused to see the reference about Abu-Hol, "the Beast". However, I'd love an illustration about the reptilian-looking Beast in Ascension. The image of a headless sphinx with a void in the head (from Curse of Cthulhu) became stuck in my head during the reading :)

Second, I wonder if it was Asmodeus who sold the scroll of banishment to Gemnez. Demogorgon or even Dagon also could be the one responsible for the trade.

Some celestial/guardinal/eladrin intereference could be nice, too. And if anyone read that epic adventure from Dungeon 123 (The Quicksilver Hourglass), Yaghur Hod's crusade could be the threat mentioned by that tertian modron hierarch in the end of the adventure, "a threat so great that Mechanus and Arborea appear ready to align against it".


Ereshkigal was referred by Pyrak as a Queen of Demons or Queen of the Abyss (not sure which one now). I like to think her as the original Queen of Chaos, who was last seen in the 14th level of the Abyss (the Steaming Fens) after the eladrin-tanar´ri wars. But that's my call ;)

Finally, I missed the fate of Xixel, the Cryptodaemon, after the crowning of Targon as the new Archodaemon. I suspect either servitude or death, but I'd like to see it detailed in the novel. And despite my nitpicking this trilogy was a refreshing reading on lower plane politics (Gemnez rules!). Well done, Blackdirge :D


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Noir

Explorer
Growing impatient

When will the 'Deluxe Edition' of 'Ascension' be released? I have the other two in that format so I cannot very well by the final part in normal paperback format, can I?
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
When will the 'Deluxe Edition' of 'Ascension' be released? I have the other two in that format so I cannot very well by the final part in normal paperback format, can I?
There won't be one; sorry. Not enough people bought the others that we can afford the art.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
It seems that stats for creatures and NPCs from Ascension are making their way to the EN World OGC Wiki. So far there are stats for the four generals of Yaghur Hod (Xixel, Zeeosh, Nyxus, and Turgon), as well as the dretch Lobgog, Abu Hol himself (along with the Sigil of Naggath-Orguul spell) and for terradaemons.

Interestingly, Morrus is the one posting the stats, and not Blackdirge. That said, its great to have stats at last! Let's hope stats for azodaemons, Yaghur Hod, and Hazag appear soon!
 

BLACKDIRGE

Visitor
It seems that stats for creatures and NPCs from Ascension are making their way to the EN World OGC Wiki. So far there are stats for the four generals of Yaghur Hod (Xixel, Zeeosh, Nyxus, and Turgon), as well as the dretch Lobgog, Abu Hol himself (along with the Sigil of Naggath-Orguul spell) and for terradaemons.

Interestingly, Morrus is the one posting the stats, and not Blackdirge. That said, its great to have stats at last! Let's hope stats for azodaemons, Yaghur Hod, and Hazag appear soon!
Don't worry, they're my stats. =]

Yaghur Hod's stats can be found in my old Monster Column, but I didn't actually do any stats for Hazag, as I didn't want to define his abilities statistically and limit what he could do in the novel.

BD
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Don't worry, they're my stats. =]

Yaghur Hod's stats can be found in my old Monster Column, but I didn't actually do any stats for Hazag, as I didn't want to define his abilities statistically and limit what he could do in the novel.
Well, hopefully you've also got the azodaemon stats lurking around somewhere. It's a shame that there's no stats for Hazag though; it'd be cool to port him into someone's campaign, I'd think.

In the meantime, I had one hell of a time finding Yaghur Hod's stats due to the recent move over to EN2, so I'm reposting them here, as I found them, sans format, as I'm a bit crunched for time right now (hopefully I'll be able to go and add these to the EN Wiki later):

Yaghur Hod

Advanced Paragon Ultroloth Fighter 10/Blackguard 15
Large Outsider
Hit Dice: 39d8+663 plus 25d10+425 plus 768 (2418 hp)
Initiative: +14 (+10 Dex, +4 Improved Initiative)
Speed: 90 ft. (18 squares)
AC: 73 (–1 size, +10 Dex, +15 natural, +12 insight, +12 luck, +15 bracers), touch 58, flat-footed 63
Base Attack/Grapple: +63/+84
Attack: Blightrazor +114 melee (2d8+59 plus 3d6 unholy/19-20 x4)
Full Attack: Blightrazor +114/+109/+104/+99 melee (2d8+59 plus 3d6 unholy/19-20 x4)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: Hypnotic gaze, spell-like abilities, smite good 4/day, sneak attack +4d6
Special Qualities: Aura of evil, aura of despair, command undead, damage reduction 25/good and epic, detect good, fast healing 20, immunity to poison and acid, poison use, resistance to cold 10, fire 10, and electricity 10, spell resistance 90, telepathy 100 ft.
Saves: Fort +77, Ref +62, Will +67
Abilities: Str 44, Dex 30, Con 44, Int 32, Wis 36, Cha 36
Skills: Balance +45, Bluff +78, Climb +53, Concentration +89, Diplomacy +89, Gather Information +56, Hide +74, Intimidate +92, Jump +55, Knowledge (arcane) +63, Knowledge (the planes) +63, Knowledge (religion) +62, Listen +68, Move Silently +72, Ride +66, Search +66, Sense Motive +78, Spellcraft +65, Spot +68, Tumble +45
Feats: Blind Fight, Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes, Cleave, Devastating Critical*, Dire Charge*, Dodge, Epic Weapon Focus (scythe), Epic Weapon Specialization (scythe), Great Cleave, Great Smiting*, Improved Aura of Despair*, Improved Critical (scythe), Improved Disarm, Improved Feint, Improved Initiative, Improved Sunder, Improved Trip, Improved Whirlwind Attack*, Iron Will, Leadership, Mobility, Quicken Spell-like Ability (symbol of death), Overwhelming Critical*, Power Attack, Spring Attack, Weapon Focus (scythe), Weapon Specialization (scythe), Whirlwind Attack
Environment: Elysium
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 65
Alignment: Neutral Evil
Possessions: Blightrazor +8 huge vile unholy power good outsider dread scythe, bracers of epic armor +15, ring of universal elemental immunity

Aura of Despair (Su): Yaghur Hod radiates a malign aura that causes enemies within 10 feet of him to take a –4 penalty on all saving throws.

Aura of Evil (Ex): An unstoppable monolith of fiendish power, Yaghur Hod’s aura of evil detects as overwhelming.

Command Undead (Su): Yaghur Hod can command undead as a 15th level cleric.

Dark Blessing (Su): Yaghur Hod applies his Charisma modifier (+13) as a bonus on all saving throws.

Detect Good (Sp): At will, Yaghur Hod can use detect good as a spell-like ability, duplicating the effect of the detect good spell.

Hypnotic Gaze (Su): Hypnotic Pattern as cast by a 39th level sorcerer, no HD limit, 30ft, Will DC 68 negates.

Poison Use: Yaghur Hod is skilled in the use of poison and never risks accidentally poisoning himself when applying poison to a blade.

Smite Good (Su): Five times per day, Yaghur Hod may attempt to smite good with one normal melee attack. He adds his +13 to his attack roll and deals 30 extra point of damage.

Spell-like Abilities: At will—alter self, deeper darkness, desecrate, fear (DC 27), fly, gaseous form, invisibility, ray of enfeeblement (+72 ranged touch), ray of exhaustion (+72 ranged touch), scorching ray (+72 ranged touch), scrying, see invisibility, suggestion (DC 27), wall of fire; 3/day—binding (DC 31), enervation (+72 ranged touch), geas/quest (DC 29), greater dispel magic, haste, mass suggestion (DC 30); 1/day—symbol of death (DC 31). Caster level 64th.

History

The yugoloths of Gehenna have long taken a more subtle approach to their evil, allowing the two other races of fiends, the tanar'ri and baatezu, to battle it out in the near eternal blood war. Serving both sides as mercenaries, the yugoloths sell their services to the highest bidder, a service that is truly a double-edged sword for both devil and demon. The yugoloths can never be trusted, but their skills as mercenaries is an essential commodity for the two warring races of fiends. The presence of Yugoloth mercenaries has decided a number of pivotal battles and their continued use on the battlefields of the blood war is not likely to end in the foreseeable future.

Yugoloths were not always mercenaries, and their status as fiends was once far greater than either tanar'ri or baatezu. Eons ago, when the yugoloths still dwelled in the murky gloom of Hades, they were ruled by an ultroloth of such power and influence that his very name caused the heavens to quake with horror. This ultroloth, Yaghur Hod, had honed his power on hatred, hatred for the unblighted planes of Elysium, the home of good in its purest form.

It is rumored that Yaghur Hod was the first to bear the title Oinodaemon, the title given to the most powerful and influential of all yugoloths. As Oinodaemon, Yaghur Hod commanded the loyalty of every living yugoloth, at least what scant loyalty a yugoloth possesses, and bent them to one singular purpose, the invasion and occupation of the plane of Elysium.

Yaghur Hod was greatly feared by those dwelling in the upper planes, having slain scores of powerful celestials and even a few minor gods. His battle prowess and the fearsome respect he commanded was owed to his possession of an artifact of singular power, the scythe Blightrazor. Blightrazor had been forged in the very fires of creation, a weapon so old that it predated the more recent concept of neutrality, law and chaos. In the beginning there was only light and darkness, two warring halves on an infant cosmos, and the titanic beings that prowled this primordial multiverse were creatures of purest good or absolute evil. Each side had its champions, and each side armed their most able with weapons of terrible power, Blightrazor served those that dwelled in darkness, and in that ancient beginning time brought death and destruction to the warriors of light. How Blightrazor fell into the hands of Yaghur Hod is unknown, but there are terrible whispers that the ultroloth unearthed one of the ancients, a creature of ineffable evil, and alongside this eldritch horror he found Blightrazor.

Yaghur Hod’s horde of yugoloths stormed the heavens in a time that has been forgotten by all but the oldest of deities, but locked within those vast countless years lies a battle of such epic proportions, that it was not even named so dire was its outcome. Elysium boiled with Yaghur Hod’s army, as the mighty ultroloth slaughtered hundreds and thousands of guardinals that arose to resist him. Blightrazor filled the air with the screams of dying celestials, and Yaghur Hod’s rampage would surely have engulfed all of Elysium, had not Prince Talisid, mightiest of leonals, risked all to stem the tide of destruction.

Amoria, the first plane of Elysium, home to the rulers of the guardinals, had fallen. Yaghur Hod and his horde stood poised on the outskirts of Taneth Lya, the city of the unblighted, where prince Talisid and his five companions, the individual paragons of each guardinal race, ruled with a gentle hand. Yaghur Hod was moments away from achieving his victory, when Talisid strode out onto the battlefield, alone and armed with his own legendary weapon, the very antithesis of Blightrazor, a scythe of purest silver called Nightreaver. Talisid called out to Yaghur Hod and issued a challenge, if the ultroloth could defeat him in single combat then he and the five companions would lay down their lives at the yugoloth’s feet, but if Talisid emerged victorious then the horde of fiends would depart Elysium forever.

Caught by this unexpected turn of events, Yaghur Hod had little choice but to accept Talisid’s duel. If he refused, then the tenuous bond that held his horde together, his own personal prowess and charisma, would be undone and so would he. In a matter of moments the remaining guardinals and the great horde of yugoloths ceased their struggles, and all turned to watch the two mighty combatants meet and decide the fate of all.

There are few words bold enough to describe the battle between Talisid and Yaghur Hod, like two great storms coming together their conflict raged on a level untouchable by mortal and immortal alike. Steel screamed upon the battlefield as Blightrazor and Nightreaver clashed, tangled and parted again. Yaghur Hod was near invincible but the lion of Elysium would not relent, even after Blightrazor had scored his flesh a dozen times and the ground was slick with his own noble blood. Finally, exhausted from hours of fighting, Yaghur Hod faltered and his guard slipped just enough too allow Talisid a crippling strike with Nightreaver. The horde of Yugoloths shuddered as their leader sagged to the ground, his right leg severed at the knee.
Talisid stood over his vanquished foe and pronounced his victory, demanding the removal of all yugoloths form Elysium. Yaghur Hod’s horde, so eager for celestial blood strained against the word their leader had given, but oaths sworn by such mighty creatures hold a power all their own, and the vast army of yugoloths crept, defeated and shamed from Elysium never to return. As for Yaghur Hod himself, it was Blightrazor that simultaneously saved him from death at the hands of prince Talisid, and doomed him to a fate that was, in many ways, far worse. The mighty leonal recognized the weapon for what it was, an artifact of such evil that it would corrupt anything, be it celestial or fiend, which wielded it. Lacking the power to destroy Blightrazor, Talisid, ever wise, passed his sentence upon Yaghur Hod. The ultroloth would spend eternity as the weapon’s guardian and steward, confined to the third plane of Elysium, Belierin. There he would be bound, unable to leave Belierin, or even the silver tower that would hold he and Blightrazor until the very wheel of creation ceased to spin.

Faced with annihilation, Yaghur Hod could do little but accept his fate, shackled to the plane of ultimate good, a prisoner in a world he had sought to conquer. Over the millennia since Yaghur Hod’s confinement, legends and myths have sprung up regarding the mysterious prisoner of Elysium. There are few beyond Talisid and his companions that know the true nature of this mystery, but dark rumors persist of a faction of yugoloths bent on freeing Yaghur Hod and restoring him as Oinodaemon. If such a faction does truly exist, its success would certainly place Elysium, and all good aligned planes, in great peril.

Appearance

The few who have seen Yaghur Hod in the flesh and survived to tell their tale all describe a being of dark and terrible majesty, the very definition of evil in its purest form. Slightly larger than the standard ultroloth, Yaghur Hod tops seven feet in height but is rakishly thin, almost fragile in appearance. His head is a barren oval, devoid of any sensory organ beyond his great luminous eyes. A black robe complete with a heavy concealing hood hide most of Yaghur Hod’s waxy gray skin, although he will use a glamour to conceal his true nature rather than such mundane methods if he desires secrecy.

Yaghur Hod moves with an odd shuffling gait, leaning upon Blightrazor like an old man drawing support from a cane. This odd form of locomotion is the legacy of his epic battle with Prince Talisid, and the horrible wound he suffered as a result. Yaghur Hod has never truly overcome this handicap, and the wound is immune to all attempts at magical healing, forcing the ultroloth to resort to magical flight when quick and precise maneuvering is required.

Personality

Yaghur Hod views all as inferior, his godlike intellect and the countless millennia of his existence have taught him little more than contempt for everyone and everything. He is coldly stoic, and is not provoked to wrath without good reason. The few mortals that have dared enter his prison have paid with their lives, but Yaghur Hod considers these intrusions little more than a bothersome annoyance and kills without cruelty or passion.

The ultroloth’s imprisonment has stretched on for millennia and he has grown complacent within the confines of his silver tower. Even the noble cruelty that marks the race of yugoloths for which he is the progenitor, has given way to simple boredom and melancholy. The very idea of freedom has become so remote that Yaghur Hod rarely thinks of it, the only thing that seems to rouse any emotion from him is his nemesis Talisid, and he has been known to fly into destructive rages for days at the mere mention of the powerful guardinal’s name.

Combat

Armed with Blightrazor and the patient skill of the truly ancient, Yaghur Hod is a nightmarish combatant, whose prowess is enough to make even the gods tremble. When faced with mortals and other “lesser” beings, Yaghur Hod will use his hypnotic gaze and spell-like abilities to confuse and frighten his foes, preferring to simply drive them from his presence rather than waste any energy in killing them. If angered or challenged by a worthy opponent, the great ultroloth will wade into combat with Blightrazor, hewing his opponents down with a singular viciousness. However, Yaghur Hod reserves his most potent attacks and deepest rage for celestials of all sorts, especially powerful icons of good such as Talisid and his companions.

It has been centuries since Yaghur Hod was even remotely challenged, his most ardent adversaries amounting to little more than intruding adventurers, which have all succumbed to either madness or death. In truth he yearns for one battle and one battle only, to meet prince Talisid in mortal combat again and either gain his freedom or die in the attempt.
 

BLACKDIRGE

Visitor
I have the azodaemon stats; I thought they were published in the first book. No?

Either way, I'm sure they can be posted to the wiki.

BD
 

sciborg2

Visitor
Just started this and I really am excited to see the progression of a dretch through the ranks of the Abyss. A great idea to write about. :)
 

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